Youth Agricultural Safety

Traditionally, children have been involved in agriculture by helping their families or neighbors. People often associate agricultural work with teaching responsibility and developing a good work ethic. However, agriculture poses many hazards for young children and adolescents.

What are the injury facts for youth living and working on farms?

An estimated 104 children younger than 20 years of age are fatally injured from agricultural injuries on U.S. farms and ranches annually.

Machinery and drowning are common causes of agriculture-related fatality to children.

Livestock and falls are common causes of non-fatal injuries to children.

Young children are often injured as bystanders in the agricultural worksites.

What factors are key to keeping youth safe on farms and ranches?

  • Restrict access of non-working children from the farm workplace
  • Train and supervise children in age appropriate farm tasks
  • Provide and require personal protective equipment
  • Maintain equipment in working order with operational safety devices
  • Parental approval of the tasks youth are performing
What developmental factors must youth possess to work on a farm or ranch?
  • The physical size, strength, coordination, and motor skills to minimize risks
  • The cognitive capacity to anticipate, recognize, and react to potential hazards
  • The good judgment to act responsibly, minimize risks, and react to potential hazards
  • The ability to follow instructions with supervision
What strategies help promote youth safety on farms and ranches?
  • Provide safe play and child care options for non-working children
  • Understand and obey child labor laws when hiring and assigning tasks
  • Supervise youth based on development and skill levels as recommended by the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks (
  • Teach youth about farm and ranch hazards
What role do child safety advocates play in addressing youth safety on farms and ranches?
  • Be responsible and a good role model
  • Promote safe behaviors based on current practices and injury experience
  • Evaluate effectiveness of prevention practices
  • Monitor childhood injury reports/data
  • Promote the role of parents in supervising all children
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for children to learn
  • Explore policy options for protecting non-working children

Where can I go to learn more about farm safety and youth?

Additional information and links on farm-related safety for youth can be found on the National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety Web site. Information available includes a comprehensive listing of resources, a list of other organizations working on youth farm safety, links to the North American Guidelines for Children’s Agricultural Tasks, and a fact sheet. For technical assistance on youth farm-related injury prevention call 1-800-662-6900.

The National Children’s Center strives to enhance the health and safety of all children involved in agricultural work and living in rural settings. The center is a program of the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation.

1000 North Oak Avenue • Marshfield, WI 54449
1-800-662-6900 • email:

This publication was produced by CSN under its contract with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More